New Orleans Pelicans: 2013-2014 Salary Cap and Beyond

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Dell Demps is expected to hold a press conference in the immediate future, likely as soon as tomorrow in the late morning or early afternoon. Demps and head coach Monty Williams had warned fans that the roster would look a lot different to begin the 2013-2014 season. With six new players to announce tomorrow (Holiday, Evans, Stiemsma, Morrow, Withey, Jackson) I think we can safely say that both Demps and Williams delivered on their promise. Below is a look at the salary cap situation as well as I can approximate it. I have used Hoopsworld, Sham Sports, and Larry Coon's CBA FAQ to create this spreadsheet.

Age 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017
Eric Gordon 25 $14,283,844 $14,898,958 $15,514,031
Tyreke Evans 23 $10,300,000 $10,763,500 $11,227,000 $11,690,500
Jrue Holiday 23 $9,213,484 $9,904,495 $10,595,507 $11,286,518
Ryan Anderson 25 $8,308,500 $8,491,500 $8,500,000
Anthony Davis 20 $5,375,760 $5,607,240 $7,070,730
Al-Farouq Aminu 22 $3,749,602
Greg Stiemsma 27 $2,652,000
Jason Smith 27 $2,500,000
Austin Rivers 21 $2,339,040 $2,439,840 $3,110,796
Anthony Morrow 27 $884,293 $924,086
Brian Roberts 28 $788,872
Darius Miller 23 $788,872
Jeff Withey 23 $490,180 $816,482
Pierre Jackson 21 $490,180 $816,482
Total 23.9 $62,164,627 $54,662,583 $56,018,064 $22,977,018

Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, Jeff Withey, and Pierre Jackson are all on team options next season. Anthony Morrow's second year is a player option, as is Eric Gordon's final contract year in 2015-2016. Next summer New Orleans faces an interesting delimma. Should Morrow opt-in the Pelicans could have nine players already under contract.

$54,662,583 + $507,336 (min cap hold)x3 = $56,184,591

The potential cap space available next year begins at $6,315,409. That amount could be increased if Morrow opts-out or the team options are not exercised on Withey or Jackson. That available space is a million dollars greater than the Mid-Level Exception next summer of $5,305,000 as explained here. That additional premium could be the difference in drawing an additional contributor to the Crescent City. New Orleans would have to renounce their rights to Jason Smith, Al-Farouq Aminu, Brian Roberts, and Darius Miller to achieve that number. They will not hold any kind of bird rights for Stiemsma after one season, early bird rights require two seasons without changing teams in free agency or via waivers.

However, New Orleans could also maintain those rights, keep themselves above the salary cap and utilize the Mid-Level Exception instead. This would put them on more equal footing with other teams not paying the luxury tax but also allow them to re-sign Jason Smith (which I consider pretty likely) with his bird rights and potentially bring back Aminu as well if his development continues this coming season.

It does appear that reports of New Orleans sacrificing future cap flexibility may have been premature now that the roster has largely taken shape to begin the season. Here is a preliminary depth chart. Do not take who is listed as a "starter" or "reserve" too much to heart. I expect that Holiday, Gordon, Evans, Anderson, Davis will be on the floor to end games and that Smith, Aminu, Stiemsma, and Morrow will round out the rotation most nights. Evans will function as the primary initiator of the offense to begin the second and fourth quarters with the bench unit.

Position Starter Reserve Bench
PG Jrue Holiday Austin Rivers Pierre Jackson
SG Eric Gordon Tyreke Evans Brian Roberts
SF Al-Farouq Aminu Anthony Morrow Darius Miller
PF Anthony Davis Ryan Anderson
C Jason Smith Greg Stiemsma Jeff Withey
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